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When Marilyn Monroe famously proclaimed, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, she may have left off a few enticing jewels. According to Hyde Park Jewelers CEO Damon Gross, diamonds are no longer the only sought-after stones for engagement rings. Today’s couples are veering away from the traditional and forging new trends when it’s time to ask the big question—no matter the age or stage.
Whether you’re doing research on buying an engagement ring or looking to upgrade your existing bauble, we talked with expert Damon Gross, CEO of Hyde Park Jewelers for envy-worthy advice.
“Stretch your budget as far as you can, because it's not a purchase that you’re going to have to make again, hopefully."
TRENDS ON WHAT TO SPEND
There are lots of “rules” or tips online about what should be the appropriate amount to spend on an engagement ring, but ultimately nothing should dictate what you choose to spend besides your own level of comfort. Gross frames this very important purchase as an “investment in love and an investment in lifelong happiness.”
It’s hard to put a price tag on that! But really, when it comes down to it, Gross says there’s no special trick or rule-of-thumb anymore. It’s all about what couples are comfortable with spending and making an informed decision.
That being said, Gross tells newlyweds, “Stretch your budget as far as you can, because it’s not a purchase that you’re going to have to make again, hopefully ever. So, don’t let your budget today dictate what you’re going to buy and own for the next 20-plus years. Stretch as far as you can, because it may seem hard to cover now, but it’s not going to be in a year or two as your income increases.”
LET’S GET TECHNICAL
One of the engagement ring trends that Gross says is here to stay, is the expansion of stones, materials and shapes we are seeing, and an overall increase in individuality of the rings. More couples feel they can create truly custom rings, and they aren’t all the variations on traditional ring styles that have been around for decades.
Hyde Park Jewelers has the capability to create custom rings for each couple and the technology to innovate in this field. Now, each ring is drawn up in CAD, can be seen digitally and then 3D printed in wax so that it can actually be tried on, with the stones placed in the wax, before the ring is made. This gives customers a huge peace of mind, knowing exactly what they are getting with such an important purchase.
After a few decades of primarily white-gold rings, Gross says they are seeing a resurgence in yellow gold again, and rose gold rings are quite popular, as well.
White and Rose Gold
After a few decades of primarily white-gold rings, Gross says they are seeing a resurgence in yellow gold again, and rose gold rings are quite popular, as well. He thinks that yellow and rose gold make up almost 50 percent of the rings these days, and other materials are coming into play as well for the setting of the ring.
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Fancy Colored Diamonds
ROMANCING THE STONES
The white diamond once reigned supreme, and it is still indeed a popular choice, but other stones are making more of an appearance in jewelry stores and engagement ring cases. Hyde Park offers a variety of options, including sapphires, emeralds, rubies, morganite and blue topaz. They even have a selection of colored diamonds, if you would like a brilliant sparkling diamond in champagne tones, black diamonds, yellow diamonds and more.
TRENDS IN SHAPES
One major trend that Gross is seeing a lot right now is band-style engagement rings. “So instead of a center stone, they’re choosing rows of diamonds or rows of sapphires or alternative stones.” Overall, Gross says, “it’s this kind of trend of taking a classic look and modernizing it.”
One way of doing that is having the center stone oriented East/West rather than North/South, simply aligning it horizontally instead of vertically. Another example of this is changing up the setting. Instead of the classic four-prong solitaire, Gross is seeing couples opt for a more modern bezel-set solitaire.
Combining that with the alternative stones, and even alternative metals, you can get a really fun, unique and colorful look. One of the best places to shop for rings, Hyde Park offers a wide variety of shapes, stones and styles to create a truly custom look.
What’s next on the horizon? Gross says that he’s keeping an eye out for an up-and-coming trend of two-stone rings, a recent celebrity jewelry trend popularized by Ariana Grande, Emily Ratajkowski and others.
Non Traditional Center
No matter what stage you are in—if you’re buying a first ring, a second ring or perhaps upgrading your ring—Gross says it’s all about having a sense of trust with your jeweler. Hyde Park’s reputation for quality and transparency has cemented the company’s position as one of the nation’s top jewelers, and one of the best places to buy engagement rings.
“You want to know your jeweler will be around for the long haul, and Hyde Park is committed to serving our clients for years to come,” he says.
You’re Invited to Hyde Park Jeweler’s Annual Engagement Ring Event with Special Promotions.
Denver April 8 to 11
Scottsdale April 15 to 18
Newport Beach April 22 to 25
Make Your Appointment at HydeParkJewelers.com
The most obvious factor of a diamond’s value is its size. However, two diamonds of equal size can have completely different values because of the other C’s. As with all precious gems, the weight or size of a diamond is measured in carats. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams. For example, when weighing diamonds, a one carat is divided into 100 points; therefore, a diamond of 25 points is also described as 0.25 carats or a quarter of a carat. As a diamond increases in size, its rarity increases, which also increases the price-per-carat exponentially. Therefore, a two-carat diamond is more than twice as valuable than a one-carat diamond of the same quality and characteristics.
Cut refers to the proportions and finish created when transforming a rough diamond into a polished diamond. Of the four C’s, cut has the most influence on a diamond’s brilliance, radiance and beauty. Round is the most brilliant shape, and also has the most demanding cutting standards. When a diamond has been cut to ideal proportions by a master cutter, it will refract light internally from one facet to another and release light. The better the cut, the more light is released through the top of the diamond rather than the bottom.
To the untrained eye, most gem-quality diamonds appear colorless. But actually, there are miniscule differences in shade – the result of trace elements combining with carbon over the diamond’s million-year formation. Truly colorless diamonds are the most rare and exquisite of them all.
While many diamonds are incredibly beautiful, no two are alike. Most diamonds have flaws, called inclusions, which are unique to each diamond. Inclusions can be crystals, feathers and lines generally not seen unless magnified. Clarity is determined by the absence of inclusions. The fewer the inclusions, the more rare and more valuable the diamond. Clarity grades are determined by the number, size, color and location of inclusions. The smaller and less visible the inclusions, the higher the diamond’s grade.